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Deer Hunt Preparations November 2018
Dan Martinez  

As the deer hunt approaches every year, I take great pleasure in playing with my rifles, seeing which one or ones are anxious to go hunt this year. Getting my rifles ready for deer hunting entails finding a good load that clocks a decent speed and shoots a tight group. Once the real-world velocity is known, using the ballistic coefficient of the chosen bullet, I can plot the ballistic curve to determine the optimum zero.

Nearly all of my hunting rifles are glassed with scopes equipped with a ballistic reticle. Part of my routine is to determine the distances represented by each aiming point in the reticle. This depends on several factors: bullet velocity, ballistic coefficient, height of the scope above bore, zero offset at the sighted-in distance, and environmental factors.

Reticle on the fixed-6 power Leupold
scope mounted on the Browning A-Bolt
Micro Hunter

One of the rifles going on this year’s hunt was my Browning A-Bolt Micro Hunter in 7mm-08. The rifle is equipped with a Leupold fixed 6-power scope with ballistic drops dots. The Micro Hunter has never taken game, so it is definitely due.

I found a good load for it using the Speer 130 gr. softpoint. It flies about 2780 fps out of the 20” barrel of the Micro Hunter. I found my best accuracy using necked-down FC .308 Win brass. Groups of around an inch at 100 yards were common. I ended up zeroing the rifle for a near dead-on 100 yard zero. To determine the drop ranges, I fired the target below at 100 yards.

I started with the two shots in the orange dot using the center crosshair. Ok, the zero turned out to be maybe a quarter inch high, if you average the two holes Next I moved down to the first drop dot and fired two more shots at the orange dot. This caused the new holes to shoot around 2 inches higher. I repeated again, using the second drop dot, then the duplex point of the reticle. For the duplex point group, I fired three shots instead of two because the group opened up on me. Maybe the barrel was getting hot or maybe it was just me.

For each group, I determined the apparent vertical center of each. Then I measured from the theoretical center of the orange dot group, to determine the inches-per-hundred-yards (IPHY) value of the dot spacing. These figures were 2.16, 4.88, and 7.86 IPHY. Later I uncovered the actual information from Leupold that I had squirreled away. Leupold’s numbers were 2.2, 4.8, and no info given for the duplex point. It was good to know that I verified!

After running the appropriate ballistic factors on the Shooter app on my tablet computer, the distance correlations were 100, 200, 270, and 350 yards. That’s plenty far for a compact rifle with a fixed 6-power scope.

Electronic Reloading Notebook in the Cloud
Speaking of the tablet computer, my wife informed me of a special deal for it through Verizon. It was dirt cheap as long as you added it to your account. Connectivity is through WiFi or 4G LTE. They make their money back when you consume data on their LTE network.

As I mentioned, I run the Shooter ballistic app on it, but I also run Microsoft OneNote on it. I have been using OneNote on my house computer for quite a few years now to keep my reloading data and notes.

I like OneNote because you can add info in several different ways. You can type data into it of course, or you can paste photos into it. I often paste photos of the hand-written reloading labels on my cartridge boxes. That’s easier than re-typing the data. Yeah, I’m lazy. I can paste photos of group targets fired. I can cut and paste ballistic data from the Shooter app. It’s all pretty free-form, so I can add whatever I think is important to record.

I recently signed up for a free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage account. The free account includes 2GB of storage. By keeping my OneNote data in the OneDrive cloud, all of my reloading data is available to me on the tablet when I am in the field as long as I can connect with Verizon cellular data service. Any data that is entered in either my home computer or in the tablet is synchronized.

That’s what the first photo in this article is showing. I’m out in the desert taking chronograph data, and inputting each shot’s velocity number in OneNote as each shot is fired. Then when I got home and fired up the house computer, all that new data was already there. Cool.

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